Friday, October 19, 2007

Wolverines down Wildcats to open CCHA play

The Michigan Wolverines came on strong late, scoring three unanswered goals to top the Northern Michigan Wildcats 3-1 on Friday night.

After jumping out to a 1-0 lead on a Nick Sirota goal with less than four minutes remaining in the first period, the 'Cats hit the wall and were unable to produce another point.

The special teams aspect of the game posed problems for NMU once more.

After going 0-5 on the power-play, NMU is now 1-16 on the season. Michigan was 2-9 with the advantage on Friday.

Northern also committed ten penalties to Michigan's six.

The Wolverines got a pair of goals from senior captain Kevin Porter and another from freshman Carl Hagelin.

And while it is obvious that this Michigan squad has talent, they don't measure up to last year's group. Yet.

Sure, their penalty kill was solid and their power-play produced when given enough opportunities (one 5-on-3), but they aren't as high-powered, offensively. When watching these two teams battle it out last year, it always seemed like the NMU fans were just holding their breath, waiting for the dam to bust (see Michigan's 8-3 playoff victory).

I didn't get that feeling on Friday. Porter is a very solid player, as is Kolarik, and the Wolverines have a lot of talented freshman, but this is a team that the Wildcats can easily compete with, as was demonstrated by the first period of play on Friday.

If they can stay out of the box and spark the same kind of offensive movement that they had in the first 20 minutes of game one, the 'Cats should walk away from this series with a split.

Three stars of the game as selected by the media:
1) Kevin Porter - UM
2) Chad Kolarik - UM
3) Nick Sirota - NMU

Final shots: NMU 14, MICH 30
Power-play: NMU 0-5, MICH 2-9
Final score: NMU 1, MICH 3

Also, a NorthWind game recap and Sirota interview.

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